Commentary by | Rachel Brooks
Footage by Leyla Sarabi and team
March 8, 2021
_ Screencapture of the broadcast submitted courtesy of Leyla Sarabi, fair use.
Leyla Sarabi, the reporter who ventured to the scene of post-conflict Aghdam, has also released to Republic Underground news footage of her recent coverage of the Khudaferin bridge. Khudaferin bridge is a historical bridge connecting Jubrayil to Iran. Khudaferin was freed from the Armenian occupation recently when the Azerbaijani forces took Jubrayil during the Second Karabakh conflict.
Seizing back the Khudaferin dam was a lift of morale for the Azerbaijani forces, as the bridge is ancient. The Iranian historian Hamdallah Mustawfi wrote that the bridge was constructed in 1027 AD. Recovering the ancient bridge, which had been referred to as “the bridge of longing”, had “taken away Karabakh’s pain” reported the Azerbaijani news agency APA. The news agency stated that the bridge was built to transcend the Araz River, for military and commercial purposes. Over the last 200 years, APA stated that the bridge had taken on the mission of spiritual purpose.
The following broadcast, by Leyla Sarabi, shows the scene of the Khudaferin bridge as it looks today.
In the years since the Karabakh conflict, the bridge is falling into ruin, reported the Anadolu Agency. For 27, the bridge has lingered in disrepair. Khudaferin, which has all of the criteria to be a major tourist attraction, yawns over what Anadolu described as a “ghost village.”
The Muslim-majority population of both Turkey and Azerbaijan also noted that Armenia raised a Christian cross at the entrance of Khudaferin. This was seen as a cultural erasure of what was once a thriving community of Azerbaijan. Anadolu noted that there is a World War II monument in the region’s village of Soltani. In what was once an attraction for post-World War II spectators, a broken fountain is all that remains to alert passerby that the haunted place was once home to many people.